Book Review: The Locker Room by Meghan Quinn

Goodreads: The Locker Room (The Brentwood Boys #1)
Published: 20 June 2019
Genre: Contemporary (New Adult) Romance, Sports Romance

Panda Rating:


Have you heard the rumor around campus about the locker room?
If you haven’t, let me enlighten you: Legend has it if you bring a girl into the sacred after-game domain of the baseball locker room, it will end with a walk down the aisle. One rowdy and naked encounter against the lockers with the girl of your dreams will make her your wife.


Translation: baseball players are stupidly superstitious and believe the locker room has magical powers.

But not all baseball players are superstitious, me included.
So when the girl I’ve fallen for brushes me off, I start to question if I need to switch my way of thinking. Maybe it’s time I finally hand out a coveted invitation to the locker room.
The only question is, will she accept? 

It pains me a little to rate this below 4-stars because I really enjoyed it for the most part and Knox was such a good hero. I didn’t expect to be quite so charmed by him when at the beginning he ran a little too jockular for my liking, but by the end, I absolutely adored his character and honestly felt his story deserved a bit better than what he got. Let me say, the first 75-80% of this story had me thinking this’d be a 4-4.5 star read but that last bit? …Mmm, that last bit. 😕 Final verdict: Not a terrible book if you just look at the first 80% because it served all the things I love in Quinn’s romances: fantastic chemistry, cheeky banter, great friendships, swoon-worthy and cheesy AF moments, and All. The. Steam! 

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Book Review: Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Goodreads: Take A Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters #2)
Publisher: Avon
Published: 23 June 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:


Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.

When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse?

Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs.

Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?

Yes. Yes. YAAAAAS to this book!!! Oh my lordy lordy. MY FEELS. The swooning. I just… THE FEELS! If you love the fake dating trope, witty banter that will have you simultaneously swooning and cracking up, smart AF badass bisexual heroines, super soft hopeless romantic heroes, crackling chemistry and intensely steamy scenes: don’t sleep on this one. Talia Hibbert really brings it all with this romance I’m so here for it!

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#TopTenTuesday: Mardi Gras Colour Covers!

So, we’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: Purple, Yellow, and/or Green Book Covers (in honor of Mardi Gras, which is today!)

I’ve never celebrated Mardi Gras/Carnival in real life although I spent a few hours yesterday participating in the Festival event in Animal Crossing New Horizones and it was a definitely a fun time! 😉 So today’s prompt was a really fun one and I know I’m probably gonna be missing out on a ton of purple, yellow and green book covers but I tried to get a good mix of colours and genres on my list today (lol who am I kidding it’s mostly romance and fantasy! 😂). I’ve loved all of these books (and highly recommend them!) but it also doesn’t hurt that they have great covers too! 😍 I love the brightness and colour pop of all three colours but especially the purples and yellows! Anyway, without further ado, let’s take a look at these popping covers:

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Book Review: The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Goodreads: The Switch
Publisher: Quercus
Published: 16 April 2020
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance

Panda Rating:


Leena is too young to feel stuck.
Eileen is too old to start over.
Maybe it’s time for The Switch…


Ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, Leena escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Newly single and about to turn eighty, Eileen would like a second chance at love. But her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen… So Leena proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love, and Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with a rabble of unruly OAPs to contend with, as well as the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – local schoolteacher, Leena learns that switching lives isn’t straightforward. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, and with the online dating scene. But is her perfect match nearer to home than she first thought?

It took me a while to get around to it but I’m so glad that I finally picked up The Switch. I buddy read this with Leslie @ Books Are The New Black and it was so much fun! It made me wonder why I didn’t do buddy reads more when it’s so great to have someone to gush and whine to while reading 😂 We both tried to pace ourselves but we ended up devouring this book because it was so easy and mostly enjoyable to read! Don’t forget to check out Leslie’s review! This has, without a doubt, cemented O’Leary in my auto-buy and favourite authors list because she definitely knows how to write those feel-good heartwarming stories that leave you wanting more. 🥰

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ARC Review: Enjoy the View by Sarah Morgenthaler

Thanks to NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads: Enjoy the View (Moose Springs #3)
Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca
Publication Date: 19 January 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Panda Rating:


A grouchy mountaineer, a Hollywood starlet
And miles of untamed wilderness…
What could possibly go wrong?


Former Hollywood darling River Lane’s acting career is tanking fast. Determined to start fresh behind the camera, she agrees to film a documentary about the picturesque small town of Moose Springs, Alaska. The assignment should have been easy, but the quirky locals want nothing to do with River. Well, too bad: River’s going to make this film and prove herself, no matter what it takes.

Or what (literal) mountain she has to climb.

Easton Lockett may be a gentle giant, but he knows a thing or two about survival. If he can keep everyone in line, he should be able to get River and her crew up and down Mount Veil in one piece. Turns out that’s a big if. The wildlife’s wilder than usual, the camera crew’s determined to wander off a cliff, and the gorgeous actress is fearless. Falling for River only makes Easton’s job tougher, but there’s only so long he can hold out against her brilliant smile. When bad weather strikes, putting everyone at risk, it’ll take all of Easton’s skill to get them back home safely…and convince River she should stay in his arms for good.

TL;DR: I was so excited for Easton’s story because he’s my hero kryptonite and while this didn’t end up being what I expected, I still enjoyed it enough to continue the series. I loved Easton and getting his perspective and even though our heroine, River, wasn’t always my fave, I still rooted for their HEA. There were also some great laugh-out-loud moments with blush inducing ‘Sexy Hagrid’ comments and a very kooky yet adorable marmot that made the story even more enjoyable!

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#TopTenTuesday: Adult Romances by Authors of Colour

So, we’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: Valentine’s Day/Love Freebie

I’ve seen people posting some really fun and creative content for today’s valentine/love freebie and I wanted to do something fun too, but seeing as I have zero ability to plan posts ahead of time, I’ve decided to just share the adult romances by authors of colour that I can’t wait to get my hands on this year. Tied with my love for fantasy, romance is my favourite genre and they make up more than half of the books I read every year. I just love love, y’know? Give me those HEA, the swoony moments, the favourite tropes like friends-to-lovers, the marshmallow soft-on-the-inside heroes, the feisty kick-ass heroines, the delightful banter, explosive chemistry and YES, the *fans self* steaminess!

One goal I have this year is to focus more on romances by authors of colour. I want to be more intentional in picking up diverse romances and I’m glad to see more and more romance by AOC popping up on my radar! This list is a mix of backlist and upcoming releases and I’m so excited to try all of them. Let me know if you have any recommendations–gimme all that good love, please! 😍

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#5OnMyTBR: L-O-V-E!

Hello Mondays, welcome back to #5OnMyTBR, a meme created by the wonderful E @ The Local Bee Hunter’s Nook. This bookish meme gets us to dig even further into our TBRs by simply posting about five books on our TBR! You can learn more about it here. You can find the full list of prompts (past and future) at the end of this post!

This week’s prompt is: Love.

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Book Spotlight + Excerpt + Giveaway:Beautiful Facade by Kathryn S Rose

Hi, friends! I’m delighted to share a book spotlight + excerpt today as part of the Xpresso Tours tour for Beautiful Facade by Kathryn S Rose! There’s also a tour-wide giveaway (INT) so don’t forget to enter–details at the end of my post!

Be sure to click on the banner above to check out the rest of the bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Beautiful Facade
Publish Date: 02 February 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult

On the day that 16-year-old Winter Starling had her life and dreams shattered by a sexual assault, she meets Kai, a boy from her high school obsessed with music. They develop a deep friendship, which comes to an abrupt end when Kai unexpectedly has to leave. Winter has no idea why he went or any way to contact him.

Ten years pass, and Winter has constructed a new reality for herself. Now living in Melbourne, she has a successful career in advertising and is engaged to Liam King, a star player in Australian Rules Football. Winter has a perfect life.

During a night out, Winter runs into Kai, now the lead singer of ‘The Stonevilles.’ Winter and Kai rekindle their friendship, and to everyone around them, their attraction is evident. With Kai back in her life, Winter’s past threatens to ruin her relationship with Liam and everything she has worked to achieve. But can she risk losing Kai a second time?

Emotional and edgy, Beautiful Facade is about love, loss, healing, self-discovery, and the messy battle between one’s head and one’s heart.

BUY NOW: Amazon

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First Lines Friday – 22 January

It’s been a hot minute since I did my last FLF but I’m back with it today!

Happy Friday book lovers! We’re back with another First Lines Friday, a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines? Here are the rules:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

First lines:

“I never meant to kill my brother. I never set out to hate my father. I never dreamed I would bury my own son. Nor could I have imagined that I would betray the childhood friend who saved my life, or win a Pulitzer Prize for telling a lie.”

Do you recognize the book these first lines come from?

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ARC Review: Ever After Always by Chloe Liese

Special thanks to Chloe Liese for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Ever After Always (Bergman Brothers #3)
Publication date: 12 January 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:



Buckle up for an emotional journey of hijinks, heartache, and a hot slow-burn in this marriage-in-crisis romance about going the distance to make love last.

Aiden
I’ve spent twelve years loving Freya Bergman and twelve lifetimes won’t be enough to give her everything she deserves. She’s my passionate, tender-hearted wife, my best friend, and all I want is to make her happy. But the one thing that will make her happiest is the one thing I’m not sure I can give her: a baby. With the pressure of providing and planning for a family, my anxiety’s at an all-time high, and I find myself pulling away, terrified to tell my wife how I’m struggling. But when Freya kicks me out, I realize that pulling back has turned into pushing too far. Now it’s the fight of a lifetime to save our marriage.

Freya
I love my cautious, hard-working husband. He’s my partner and best friend, the person I know I can count on most. Until one day I realize the man I married is nowhere to be found. Now Aiden is quiet and withdrawn, and as the months wear on, the pain of our growing distance becomes too much.  As if weathering marriage counseling wasn’t enough, we’re thrown together for an island getaway to celebrate my parents’ many years of perfect marriage while ours is on the brink of collapse. Despite my meddling siblings and a week in each other’s constant company, this trip somehow gets us working through the trouble in paradise. I just can’t help worrying, when we leave paradise and return to the real world, will trouble find us again?

GET YOUR COPY: Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)

Note: The quotes below are taken from an advanced/unfinished copy and are subject to change in the final version.

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